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Tenancy Agreement Explained

These notes do not form part of the Tenancy Agreement. These notes should be read in conjunction with the Tenancy Agreement as they provide some guidance on your obligations and are intended to help you understand the document you are signing.

GENERAL INFORMATION

It is important to understand the commitment that you are entering into when signing a Tenancy Agreement to rent a property. Your Tenancy will be in the form of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) as defined by the Housing Act of 1996.

You are entering into a legally binding Agreement with your Landlord and whilst this Agreement places obligations on your Landlord in respect of the property you will occupy, there are significant legal responsibilities upon you as a Tenant also. Principally these are:

  • Must pay your rent in full and on time and pay all utility charges for the whole duration of your tenancy.
  • Hold current tenant insurance valid for the term of your tenancy providing cover for accidental cover for any landlord’s contents.
  • Must keep use the property in a ’Tenant like manner’, this means keeping the property secure, clean and looked after and ensuring any garden is kept tidy.
  • Should report any faults or repair needs promptly.
  • Utilise the property such as not to cause interference, annoyance or detriment to neighbours or adjoining property.
  • Permit access to the landlord (or their agent) for repairs or inspections during reasonable hours providing adequate notice (at least 24 hours) has been given.
  • Give proper and due notice to vacate in writing as required under the terms of the agreement. Please note you are not permitted to ‘give up’ or end your tenancy early if you are within a fixed term without the landlords agreement.
  • Deliver up the property at the end of the tenancy in a sound and clean condition. Subject to reasonable wear and tear, ensure any damage or alterations are rectified.
  • Accept responsibility for the repair of any damage or dilapidation that may be attributable to you, your family or your guests misuse/neglect.
  • Notify us of any extended period when you will not be in occupation (usually for periods of over two weeks).    

The full obligations placed upon you are detailed in the Tenancy Agreement and you should read and understand these before signing the document. Please ask us if you need assistance in understanding these. Your Tenancy is initially for a fixed term period, generally of either six or 12 months.

You should understand that you have a legal responsibility for the premises and rent for the whole of this period.  You are entering into a legal contract that cannot be discharged before the end of this period without the agreement of your Landlord.  You should talk to us at any time before or during your Tenancy if you require assistance or have issues regarding your premises or Tenancy.

YOUR TENANCY AGREEMENT

Your Tenancy Agreement forms a legal contract between you and your Landlord. It establishes the terms of your contract and details the obligations upon both you and your Landlord. The document has specific sections covering the basic elements comprising your contact and each of these is explained briefly below:

Section 1 ‘The Agreement’

This provides details of the premises you are renting and the duration of your tenancy. It lists the address, the term, the names party to the agreement and the start and end dates.

Section 2 ‘The Deposit’

You are asked to pay a deposit as security to the Landlord against you defaulting on your obligations. The deposit is typically one and a half times the gross monthly rental figure and we require you to pay this sum wither when your tenancy commences or 14 days after you reserve the premises with us (whichever is the sooner). Your deposit is returnable to you at the end of your tenancy providing your tenancy obligations have been met. Under certain circumstances deductions may be made for items such as repair to damage caused, cleaning or unpaid rent.

All tenancy deposits placed with us are protected under the TDS Government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, this places obligations upon us and your Landlord in respect of the way in which your deposit is held and dealt with at the end of your tenancy. A separate guidance note is available on the scheme and how it operates. We provide you with a certificate to confirm that your deposit is registered within the scheme. There are significant costs associated with the administration of our membership of this scheme and we therefore make a small charge equally between Landlord and Tenant to help cover this cost. Your portion of this charge is payable with your tenancy deposit.

Section 3 ‘The Rent and Charges’

(A full list of the fees and charges can be found on the Tenants Fees and Tenancy Charges page of our website).

This section details the rent payable by you for the premises and when this rent is due. You pay your rent in advance and we ask that all tenants pay their rent monthly, by Bank Standing Order. It is also important that where you are sharing premises, we receive your rent in one regular payment covering the whole rent amount due.

When your tenancy is coming to an end, we will speak to you about renewal of your agreement. Should you wish to do this, we will need to prepare and issue a new agreement for you and the Landlord to sign. We will also need to update the details of your deposit registration and provide a new certificate. You will be charged for this renewal as a significant administrative process is involved.

When you leave the premises at the end of your tenancy, in order to ensure it is handed back satisfactorily and to provide you with an independent and objective assessment of your deposit implications, we utilise an independent, professionally accredited, check out inspection and inventory clerk to inspect the property. You will be charged for this process, however it does ensure that your move out is recorded accurately for the protection of both you and your Landlord. You are welcome to be present at the check out inspection.

Whilst your Tenancy Agreement document details a number of other potential charges, these relate to administration of your tenancy when you fail to meet your obligations and/or breach your contract terms. These charges can easily be avoided by ensuring you understand and comply with your tenancy obligations and talk to us promptly about any issues that may arise.

Section 4 ‘Use of the Property’

Within this section, details of what you should (and can) do within the terms of your tenancy are listed along with details of what is not permitted. It is important that you are familiar with these so as not to cause problems during your stay at the premises.

Examples of issues that can arise which may cause difficulty for you and your Landlord are ‘The introduction of a pet to the premises without the Landlord’s prior consent’ or ‘the introduction of a new sharing tenant or the departure of a tenant from premises without the proper changes to the tenancy agreement’.

Please remember if you wish, or need, to change the terms of your Tenancy Agreement, talk to us as soon as possible and before the change is made so that we can advise you appropriately.

You will note that the tenancy agreement requires you to have carpet, upholstery and curtains professionally cleaned under certain circumstances, particularly where pets have been present. It is important to recognise that although your pets may be well behaved, the premises may still be affected by hair residue or odours that can act as allergens to those who will occupy the home after you. As such it is important that these are fully removed so as not to affect the Landlord’s ability to re-let the premises after you have moved on.

Where referred to, ‘Professional Cleaning’ means cleaning by a professional person or organisation skilled and with the appropriate equipment to undertake deep cleaning of fabrics. Unfortunately it is not acceptable to acquire the use of ‘Do it yourself’ type equipment such as ‘Rug Doctors’. These do not fully clean upholstery in an even and consistent way and we may still need to ask you to cover the cost of a professional clean even if these machines have been used. A receipt for the professional clean will need to be provided at the end of the tenancy.

Section 5 ‘Landlord/Agent Access and Inspection’

Whilst we do not wish to interfere with your enjoyment or use of your home, it is necessary when managing premises remotely, to have access for the purposes of maintenance or repair. In addition we need to inspect the premises regularly so that we can advise the Landlord of any issues, faults or problems to be addressed. Whilst you are required to co-operate with our needs in this respect, we will always be as flexible as possible in ensuring we do not unduly disturb you.

Section 6 ‘Landlord’s Agreement with You’  

This section confirms that the Landlord agrees that, where your obligations are met, they will provide the premises to you to use as your home in peace and without interruption (subject to the obligations above in respect of access).

Section 7 ‘Additional Agreements’

This section gives details of the additional obligations upon both parties under the contract. It is where respective responsibilities are clarified.

Section 8 ‘The End of the Tenancy’

When ending the tenancy, either you or your Landlord must give notice to the other party and there are specific requirements in this respect. As you will be leaving the premises, you also have some obligations in the way that you hand back the premises and how it is left at your departure.

Should you wish to leave the premises early before your tenancy term ends, this may be possible but only with your Landlord’s agreement. However there are specific requirements and costs to you involved in this and our advice is that should the need arise; you talk to us as early as possible before you make the decision to leave.

Section 9 ‘The Tenancy Deposit Return’

Here you will find general information about the return of your deposit and the timescale involved. Additional information about the return of your deposit is given in the leaflet ‘What is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?’ which we will provide you.

Please note because we need to meet regulations and provide an audit trail of our deposit returns, we are unable to return deposits in cash.

Key points to remember.

  1. Please take time to read your Tenancy Agreement and other documents, your tenancy will run smoother if you understand things fully.
  2. We are here to help you, if you need assistance with any aspect of your tenancy, please ask us.
  3. You are entering into a Legal Agreement which places obligations on you for the duration of your tenancy term. You should comply fully with these obligations to ensure your tenancy runs smoothly.
  4. Whilst your rental property is ‘your home’, it does belong to someone else so please treat it with respect.
  5. If your circumstances change, you have difficulty with your rent, or have other issues, please talk to us as early as possible. The sooner we know, the sooner we can help.   

PLEASE NOTE THAT FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH YOUR OBLIGATIONS AS A TENANT MAY CONSTITUTE POTENTIAL BREACHES OF CONTRACT, LEADING TO EARLY NOTICE BEING GIVEN TO VACATE THE PROPERTY AND POSSIBLE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES.